At any one time on Britain’s roads, there are literally thousands of lorries driving up and down the country, delivering goods to customers at all hours of the day and night. There is a shortage of professional lorry drivers (or “large goods vehicle” drivers as they are officially known as), so haulage firms are keen to get new recruits trained up and ready to go!
If you have ever seen those programmes on the television that followed lorry drivers around on a regular basis, filming their daily lives in the cabs of their lorries and the staff canteens at their headquarters, for example, and you wish that you were out on the road delivering goods to businesses all over the UK and beyond, then perhaps lorry driving is for you!
Here is some info on what it’s like to be a lorry driver.
What a lorry driver does on a daily basis
Lorry driving is no 9 to 5 job. Drivers often have to deliver goods within allocated schedules, and this can often mean sleeping in the cab of your lorry overnight or staying at a hotel on some motorway services in order to rest and meet deadlines for the following day.
A lorry driver is responsible for the safe and timely delivery of goods in their lorry, whether that be locally, nationally or internationally. Aside from that, drivers are required to ensure that their vehicles are maintained to a satisfactory level, and report any issues with tyres or engines for example to their controller, who will decide on the best course of action for them.
Drivers are also responsible for unloading and loading goods onto their vehicles as quickly and safely as possible, ensuring that all loads are secured, and that all required paperwork is in order – either for the companies they are delivering to, or for border patrol officials in foreign countries.
Finally, lorry drivers need to be really skilled at map reading and geography, as they will need to be able to get to their destinations as quickly and safely as is possible. Local knowledge of certain routes is a bonus, as it means you can avoid any traffic bottlenecks by driving through a quicker alternative route.
How to become a lorry driver
To become a lorry driver you will need to be aged 18 years or older, have a clean driving licence and pass a medical test before you can become a large goods vehicle driver (this is the official title given by the DVLA).
Firstly, you will need to apply for provisional entitlement of category C (vehicles with a maximum authorised mass of more than 7.5 tonnes) or category C1 (vehicles with a maximum authorised mass of more than 3.5 tonnes but less than 7.5 tonnes).
You will then need driver training from a company such as www.adrnetwork.co.uk, pass your theory and practical tests, and then pass a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) test in order to be a professional lorry driver. The theory and practical tests will need to be taken every 5 years.